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Tuesday Halolinks: Mike Trout and playoff baseball

The Angels return to the postseason after 5 years. This time they're bring the best player in baseball.

Ezra Shaw

I started writing for Halos Heaven in the fall of 2008.  This was towards the end of the Angels "golden age" that saw the team win the A.L. West five out of 6 seasons between 2004 and 2009.  I remember talking to Rev on the phone about the upcoming playoffs and how I felt really confident the club was going to do well.  They had just won 100 games during the regular season, and appeared to be the team to beat heading into the post season.  They lost in the first round.

It's been five years since the Angels played a meaningful game in October, and I'm not going to make any predictions as to how I feel they're going to do.  We (us fans) should just be happy we're seeing this team play at this time and enjoy the ride however long or short.

Pre-playoff Halolinks, y'all:

  • David Freese seems pretty cool, and summed up my feelings about Mike Trout and the playoffs; I'm pumped he's here, and he belongs in the postseason: Angels' Trout ready to try on playoff pressure for first time - The Orange County Register, "All David Freese did in his first postseason was win the MVP awards in both the League Championship Series and the World Series, one of the best October debuts in history. Freese’s advice for Trout? "There’s not a single thing I need to say to Mike Trout," Freese said. "The night we won (the division), I told him ‘I’m pumped that you’re here. You belong in the postseason.’ He’s going to live up to it. It’s going to be fun to watch."
  • How much of a difference will this team be if Shoemaker is the Game 3 starter?  Full workout goes well for Angels' Hamilton - The Orange County Register, "Matt Shoemaker also played light catch a day after his first bullpen session since he's been dealing with a strained left oblique, Mead said. If Shoemaker feels well enough Tuesday, he will have a second bullpen session. Shoemaker said Sunday he is "very confident" he will be able to pitch in the postseason. The soonest he is likely to start is Game 3, which would be Sunday."  We'll find out if he and Hamilton are going to be active on Thursday: Shoemaker, Hamilton hope for Angels playoff return - Yahoo Sports, "Shoemaker is expected to throw off a mound Tuesday, while Hamilton will repeat his rehab program Tuesday and Wednesday. If both players still feel good, they'll likely be available for selection to manager Mike Scioscia's postseason roster on Thursday morning."
  • Plenty of good information on OC Register's site: Times announced for first 3 games of Angels series - Orange County Register:
    In Game 1 on Thursday at Angel Stadium, first pitch will be 6:07 p.m. if the Angels are playing the Kansas City Royals, and 6:37 p.m. if they are playing the Oakland Athletics.
    Game 2 on Friday will start at 6:37 p.m. against the Royals or 7:07 p.m. against the A's.
    Game 3, which will be on the road on Sunday, will start at 4:37 p.m., regardless of the opponent.
    The first 3 games of the Angels series will be aired on TBS."  Here are the other games' start times:  MLB announces division series start times through Sunday -
  • At first I was slightly worried that if the Royals made the playoofs we'd be subjected to some Steve Physioc, but then realized this is a nationally televised game.  I was also reminded that if you play a recording of Physioc backwards, you can hear Satan.  What's worse though, if you play the recording forwards, you hear Steve Physioc.  AL wild card preview: The Royals and A's fight for their postseason lives  - Yahoo Sports, "First pitch is at 8:07 p.m. ET Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The game airs live on TBS, with a pregame show beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET."   It's Jon Lester vs James Shields.
  • For us older Angels' fans, we should remember the Royals were the team who constantly beat up on the Angels, and the rest of the AL West, throughout the 70's.  At least that's how I remember it.  That's why I'm hoping the Halos face them in the ALDS...time for some payback: 29 years in making, Royals desperate to shine on playoff stage as nervous K.C. braces itself - Yahoo Sports, "At 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals will host the Oakland A's for the privilege of facing the team with baseball's best record, the Los Angeles Angels, in the American League Division Series. The Royals' ace, James Shields, for whom they traded a top hitting prospect, will oppose the A's ace, Jon Lester, for whom they traded a top hitting prospect. Both teams catch the ball very well, feature lockdown bullpens and struggle at scoring runs. It is the sort of game that could go 0-0 into the 12th inning. Of course, it being the first time the Royals have played a postseason game in 29 years, the expected script is finding itself rewritten a fair bit this year."
  • I used to live in that area of Tustin.  Seems like a reasonable spot for a stadium: Tustin officials getting an update on Angels discussions - The Orange County Register, "Parker said city representatives have met five or six times with team officials since March to discuss how much land is available for development at the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Facility, also known as Tustin Legacy. Land at the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, which is near the I-5, I-405 and the 55, has been the focus of talks, with sites near the intersections of Warner and Armstrong avenues, and Red Hill Avenue and Barranca Parkway being mentioned." 
  • Interesting reading: The Post-Trade WAR Figures of Notable Deadline Acquisitions - FanGraphs Baseball
  • Nate Silver takes a look at baseball's popularity contest.  Would it be a good thing for the Angels and their fans if Mike Trout became the next "Derek Jeter" as far as popularity?  MLB’s Biggest Star Is 40 (And He Just Retired). That Could Be A Problem. - FiveThirtyEight, "I looked up the search traffic for Jeter, along with that for every other baseball player to post at least 30 wins above replacement (WAR) from 2004 through 2014. (Jeter’s WAR, controversially, was only 31.4 during this period; about 50 players rated ahead of him.) I also included every MLB MVP winner since 2004 — along with Trout, who might finally win an MVP this year. The chart below lists everyone else’s search traffic relative to Jeter’s." 
  • Another interesting article: Ruminations on Pitching Efficiency – The Hardball Times, "First, and this is very simple: an out is an out. Strikeouts are sexy, and pitchers with a lot of them have been shown to generate weaker contact and give up fewer hits. Strikeouts are also usually inefficient. They require at least three pitches per plate appearance (usually more), and, while the pitcher gets to feel good about his stuff and preen after recording a strikeout (unquantifiable, to be sure), he didn’t help his pitch count trajectory above the average unless he threw fewer than four pitches, which is the average number of pitches per each major league plate appearance (the exact figure is about 3.83 P/PA for most recent years)."
  • A GIF I made: Parkman vs. Grilli
  • Nothing says "class" like showing your nutsack: A's Get Into Playoffs; Josh Reddick Celebrates With His Sack Out [NSFW], "The Oakland Athletics are in the postseason, and the superhero underwear-clad Josh Reddick is very, very happy about it."